Mark Hainsworth

Mark Hainsworth

I grew up in northern England as the son of a Methodist minister. Fortunately, my Dad was pragmatic and the religion didn’t get shoved down my throat.  But the church did get me introduced to how to behave in a socially-acceptable way with solid Christian values. I was fortunate to be sent away to a Methodist boarding school, where I spent 7 years in an all-male environment. It was a tough experience, in retrospect, but it gave me survival tools and I got to grow up very independent.

I did my bachelor’s degree in Engineering and promptly emigrated to South Africa at the age of 22, to work on the gold mines. I have done some interesting engineering things, even spent 2 years as a ballistics technician, building and testing experimental propulsion systems for various military applications.  I spent 8 years travelling the world as an applications expert and selling industrial temperature monitoring systems to a very wide range of manufacturing industries.  I loved the international travel, meeting new cultures and the thrill of doing leading-edge things that had never been done before in engineering circles. 

When I was 35, my wife announced that she no longer wanted to be married to me and my world shattered. I set off on a soul-searching mission, trying to find the answer to what had gone wrong and in the process I discovered the whole new world of self-growth.  I set myself a mission to find myself (whatever that meant, I had no idea).  And the journey was one which took me to the world of men’s work.   

Here I found my “home” and I have spent the past 12 years facilitating groups of men as they work through their own growth challenges.  I have also applied the same principles to working with young men boys and I am involved with an NGO which runs transformation weekends for adolescent boys. There is a piece of me that lights up inside when I am sitting in groups of men, where there is work to do and where I get a solid feeling of masculine connection.

I’m currently living in Cape Town, with my partner Debbie. She and I have had to do our work to help keep our relationship on track. In fact, she is the one that keeps me honest and holds up a mirror to show me how well (or badly) I am doing.  I have, what I call, a fabulous surrogate daughter, Gina, who adopted me when she was 14 after her mother died. 

In my spare time, I like to get out on the ocean and do some sailboat racing, on a Farr 40.  I did the Cape-to-Rio yacht race in 2009, I have a small fleet of cars which I maintain for the extended family – a mix of Landrovers, VW’s and an MGF sports car. It’s under a motor car that I find one of my happy places.  The other is sitting out in the desert with my tent and my sleeping bag and an African sunset